The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Curios and Relics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 15, 2011, 12:04 PM   #1
Startech
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 15, 2011
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 3
Colt 1903-Never fired

Hello all. I was willed this 32 ACP from my grandfather. He was not a shooter. I used to be, but that was 15 years ago. Anyways, when I got this, the slide was very stiff. So, I field stripped it. Got the spider webs out of the barrel, soaked it with wd-40 over night and cleaned it with a tooth brush and and old worn out .38 brush. Holy cow, it looks like it has never been fired. Slide is now smooth as new. How can I be sure it has never been fired or is it even important?

I was actually thinking about buying a concealed carry for the last few months.

What would you do? Sell it as an old gun never fired, or keep it and use it?


Startech is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 12:30 PM   #2
noelf2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 14, 2008
Location: Stafford, VA
Posts: 1,709
Doesn't really matter, but what makes you think it has never been fired? Looks to me like it's seen better days.
__________________
Liberty and freedom often offends those who understand neither.
noelf2 is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 01:10 PM   #3
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,755
I agree with noelf2 ^^^^^

It doesn't matter if it has been fired or not. The condition is abysmal.

At this point, a decent professional refinish would make it a nice CCW piece.
gyvel is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 01:44 PM   #4
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,067
If it looks like that on the outside, I'd be seriously concerned about the recoil spring, bore, and magazine. It would be foolhardy to trust it as a weapon before having it checked out and removing the rust.
__________________
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
--Albert Camus
Tom Servo is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 01:57 PM   #5
Startech
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 15, 2011
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 3
Thanks Gents, Bore looks brand new-no rust or marks of any kind. Breach where the bullet travels-same. Spring looks new also. Clip, not near as bad as outside of slide. I loaded 8 rounds (all came with gun) and cycled them as fast as I could several times with no issues. For safety, I think I will have the gun range master take a look at it and see how it fires since "never fired" means nothing. Serial no. indicates 1919 year.
Startech is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 02:06 PM   #6
Hawg Haggen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,649
When people say never been fired they usually mean pristine in the box. All bluing intact with no blemishes of any kind not even lint. That thing has been around the block several dozen times. It is restorable but it has been fired, you can bet on it.
Hawg Haggen is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 02:14 PM   #7
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,067
Quote:
Clip, not near as bad as outside of slide. I loaded 8 rounds (all came with gun) and cycled them as fast as I could several times with no issues.
"Magazine," young Jedi, not "clip."

Hand-cycling really doesn't prove much of anything, other than the fact that the gun is capable of hand-cycling ammo. A real test will involve shooting it. Prior to that, take some steel wool and oil, and gently remove any rust from the exterior of the barrel and the interior of the slide and frame. Pay close attention to the locking lugs. Once that's done, put a light coat of oil on the contact surfaces. Clean the inside of the magazine, paying close attention to the spring. Make sure it's dry when you're done.
__________________
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
--Albert Camus
Tom Servo is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 02:24 PM   #8
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,407
I'll agree with Hawg on this one: that gun has seen lots and lots of use. The grips didn't wear that way on their own, and looking down the bore is not how you judge whether or not the piece has been fired. Besides, it is severely rusted. Refinishing might take all the pits out or maybe not. Worth $200 to the right person.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 05:18 PM   #9
Chuck Dye
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 28, 2002
Location: Oregon-The wet side.
Posts: 827
Fresh springs are like chicken soup, they couldn't hurt.

http://www.gunsprings.com/Semi-Auto%...ID1/mID1/dID71

Oh, for what it is worth, don't worry about the locking lugs, there are none. There are what look like locking lugs holding the barrel in the frame which deserve attention when cleaning and derusting that pistol.

Check out/download the manual at http://stevespages.com/pdf/colt_32_&...ammerless.pdf"
__________________
Gee, I'd love to see your data!

Last edited by Chuck Dye; August 15, 2011 at 05:28 PM.
Chuck Dye is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 05:46 PM   #10
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,102
agree with SCORCH... look how worn the grips look... the gun has been used / carried alot ( that doesn't mean it been fired alot ) a well used CCW weapon will have more external wear than internal
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 05:51 PM   #11
the rifleer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2008
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 1,252
So i know that most guns are supposed to be left alone, but I think this one would really benefit from being refinished.
__________________
There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people.
the rifleer is offline  
Old August 15, 2011, 08:23 PM   #12
kilimanjaro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 1,660
This is an exception to the rule about not refinishing as-found original weapons. It's mechanically sound, as you say, and worthless without refinish work. Restore it and keep it another generation or two.
kilimanjaro is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 07:49 AM   #13
Startech
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 15, 2011
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 3
Thanks for everyones input, to answer noelf2- The first thing I did, was run a dry swab down the barrel and took a look. The bore looked prestine-shiney, smooth with no marks of any kind. I think this is gonna be a great CCW to keep in the car although I am a little leary about the small caliber.

Sorry if the title of this thread seemed misleading-not sure how to describe a rusty old gun that may have never seen a live round used. The grips truly look new in person, the pics are not in the best lighting. I cant find a rub mark or wear on them with a magnifying glass.

Do you guys think it would be unsafe to shoot the 8 bullets that may be so old?
I find it amazing that Browning thought of a hidden hammer so long ago.
Thanks so much for the links.
Startech is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 08:18 AM   #14
jtb1967
Junior member
 
Join Date: September 29, 2004
Location: WV
Posts: 454
I agree the collector value of that one is pretty well gone. I've very anti when it comes to refinishing, but you couldn't really hurt the value of that one. It would be a fun gun to shoot, but I believe I'd find something a little more modern and probably hollowpoint friendly for CCW use.
jtb1967 is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 09:59 AM   #15
Hawg Haggen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,649
I dunno the pony on the grips looks really worn.
Hawg Haggen is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 10:46 AM   #16
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,917
Checkering looks slick and the Colt logo rounded off, too.

Restoration to look new would be extremely expensive, and even a nice polished blue refinish would be pretty high. I have seen similarly neglected guns derusted and bead blasted then blued for a matte finish. They didn't look original but they look better than what they started out as. I guess you could even have it Parkerized like a WW II General Officer's Pistol. No danger if it being mistaken for a real one with that low a number.

If you get it refinished, or just disassembled for inspection, be sure to get it to somebody familiar with the design. There are many reports of how tricky it is to put them back together.

The old ammo would be safe but depending on HOW old, might misfire or might have chlorate primers which freak out a lot of people.
A fresh box of ammo would be a reasonable investment.
Do not expect a gun this old to be reliable with hollowpoints.
I sold a Remington Model 51 because it wasn't. Stupid of me, these smallbores need penetration more than expansion anyhow.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 11:13 AM   #17
mwal
Member
 
Join Date: February 24, 2009
Posts: 70
I have a 1903 from the same era that my Grandfather used as his carry/ night stand gun. Mine shoots hardball and hollow points. My problem is the aftermarket magazine I bought for it is not reliable enough for carry. SO I only use it for range days and use the original for carry. It has been a very reliable gun for me. I would have that one refinished due to current condition. Do not want rust stains on clothes from carrying it. .32 was considered a good carry weapon for many years until magnumitis set in.

Mwal
mwal is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 01:27 PM   #18
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,755
mwal, try this link:

http://www.ammoclip.com/C/colt_1903_pocket.htm

These folks' magazines seem to be of a very high quality, i.e. thick steel walls, followers, etc. I have ordered several from them for different guns and have had 100% reliability with them. I don't know who makes their mags, but they seem to be a cut above.
gyvel is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 03:41 PM   #19
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,161
It has been a while since I have seen a set of grips that badly worn; if that gun was not fired, it was sure fondled a whole lot. I suspect the "pristine" barrel is a replacement.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old August 16, 2011, 08:59 PM   #20
Chris_B
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2007
Posts: 2,841
Don't detail strip it

Those little Colts are great pistols. The nice barrel is practically a hen's tooth nowadays

Fired once or 10,000 times - that pistol could use a little TLC but I bet after it has some it will work like it was new. Well made machines and a pleasure to own. I'm happy to say a Model of 1903 in .32 ACP was my first Colt, and it's quite accurate once you get used to the teensy sights
Chris_B is offline  
Old August 17, 2011, 08:38 AM   #21
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,755
After fiddling with the photos, the grips don't look nearly as bad as they do in the OP's shots.
gyvel is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11324 seconds with 7 queries